Another L.A. October letdown: Three offseason questions for 111-win Dodgers after stunning NLDS defeat

    ESPN baseball reporter. Covered the L.A. Rams for ESPN from 2016 to 2018 and the L.A. Angels for from 2012 to 2016.

Once again, the Los Angeles Dodgers were baseball’s best team during the regular season. Once again, they didn’t take home a World Series ring.

L.A. fell far short of the Fall Classic, suffering a stunning NLDS upset defeat to their NL West rival San Diego Padres. Though the Dodgers won it all in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, that remains their only title in a run of 10 straight postseason appearances.

After four 100-plus-win campaigns in the past five full seasons, what can the Dodgers do to stay on top all year — October included? Here’s a look at their notable free agents and trade candidates and their three biggest questions heading into 2023 and beyond.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Notable free agents: SS Trea Turner, SP Clayton Kershaw, RP Craig Kimbrel, 3B Justin Turner (club option), SP Andrew Heaney, SP Tyler Anderson, RP Tommy Kahnle, INF Hanser Alberto (club option), SP/RP David Price, OF Joey Gallo

Let’s use this section to explore a name who is not on this list but could be: Cody Bellinger, who’s slated to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $18 million in his final year of arbitration this offseason. Bellinger won the NL MVP in 2019, but since then he has batted only .203/.272/.376 and hasn’t really shown any signs of getting back to his elite form offensively. In Game 4 of the NLDS, with a right-hander on the opposing mound and the Dodgers facing elimination, Bellinger was on the bench, a telling representation of how far he has fallen. Bellinger still brings plenty of defensive value at center field and is a major power threat at the bottom of a lineup. At 27, he’s also young enough to inspire hope. But one has to wonder if a chance of scenery might benefit both sides at this point. And whether the Dodgers would be better off non-tendering him in order to allocate that money elsewhere.

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